I adore my children. I really do. We have had a lot of fun spending time together during this whole time of stay-at-home, shelter-in-place, quarantine, or whatever you want to call it. We have played games and watched movies and cooked meals and done projects. We’ve had fun!
But I gotta be honest, this distance learning at home thing is not for me.
I simply don’t have the patience. Or the brain power. Or the desire. Or the energy. Or the patience. Did I already say that one? I mean, I have my own things to do and think about. Somedays, I can barely manage myself, much less make sure my child is staying on task with all of his daily assignments. And let’s just be real – my son can be a major jerk when it comes time for school work. No thank you. Not interested in taking part in that.
Does this make me a bad mom? I’ve really wrestled with this because it feels like I’m a bad mom. It feels like I should be able to manage this with ease. It feels like I should be happy to do this. But I can’t and I’m not.
The truth is, this doesn’t make me a bad mom. It makes me an honest mom. It makes me a normal mom. It makes me a mom who is good at some things and not good at others. I happen to not be equipped to be my child’s teacher. We homeschooled for a year when they were younger. We learned way back then that sending them to school was the best option for us. So why have I been beating myself up now because I’m struggling to deal with school at home?
There are plenty of things that I’m good at. I’m going to try hard to focus on those things rather than focus on the things that I don’t do well. I will continue to do my best with this school at home thing because it’s necessary right now. And because I care. Of course I care. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t help at all. I wouldn’t make sure any of the schooling was accomplished. But I can only do what I can do, and that has to be enough for now. As long as I’m doing my best, I can be proud of myself. I can feel like a good mom.
As for the rest? Well, I’m learning to ask for help. In our house, we have three other people who are capable of helping with the youngster. And they do. We also still have access to teachers who are able to help. In fact, this morning my son has a video conference set up with one of them. I decided to let her help him rather than having a fight with him over fractions. Winning!
Parenting isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. For me, this schooling thing is one of them. It’s a big relief to allow myself to admit that I don’t like this and that I’m not so good at it. Pretending like I’ve had it all together and am loving this particular phase of parenting isn’t helping me or anyone else. We’ll get through it, hopefully with some sanity still intact. And with a little luck, we might even have a few laughs along the way.
It was five AM and I was in the kitchen attempting to make homemade donuts. I had found a recipe to make them in the air fryer, you know, so they would be healthy. Whatever. You see where this is going right? This was clearly hypomania happening. By 5:30, I was in the car on my way to the store for whole milk.
It didn’t last very long. Not even the whole day. In the days leading up to it, I had been severely depressed. The kind of depressed where I would cry intermittently throughout the day, or I would hardly be able to get out of bed. I was barely functioning, at least on the inside. On the outside, things looked pretty normal, as they usually do. I’m pretty good at hiding it by now. But on the inside? I felt like I was surely dying a slow death.
So I had the depressed days, and then I had the manic day, or part of it anyway. After that, came the day of rage. Something that shouldn’t have been a very big deal caused me to completely come unglued. I lost it. And the worst part is that I lost it with one of my children. I’m not proud. I’m embarrassed, to be honest. I’m sad about it, too.
I’m sad that I don’t have a larger capacity to handle things when they don’t go just as they are supposed to go. When things get slightly off-kilter, I many times unravel. Then I go into my routine of the ‘I shoulds.’ I should be able to handle this. I should be stronger than this. I should be better by now…You get the idea. I preach to my clients about the ‘I should’ trap, yet I do it myself. I know better.
But I think more than being sad, I’m just tired. I’m tired of the ups and downs. I’m tired of feeling fine and then BAM it all changes in a flash. Suddenly, I’m in some alternate mood state that completely takes over and I’m helpless to do anything about it. I’m trapped inside it, using every ounce of restraint I have to keep it confined inside of me. Sometimes the rest of the day is gone. I don’t recover. Other times, I do recover, but it can take hours before I feel ok again.
I have realized, though, that I have an immense amount of self-control. My ability to contain these wild emotions is unbelievable. Sometimes I let them out, but that’s only when I know it’s safe. Usually, though, I keep them under wraps, even from my family. I feel like I have to. It’s better for everyone. Well, it’s better for everyone else. I don’t think it’s good for me to keep it all bottled up, though. It keeps me tense and anxious. I need to find a better way to release all of this pent up emotion that I carry around. It isn’t fair to unleash it on unsuspecting bystanders. I understand that. But I can’t harbor it forever, either.
I don’t have the answer yet. Maybe someday I will.
Now, about those donuts. Well, they never happened. The dough never rose because the yeast was dead. So disappointing.